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Administration’s move to restore glory of Kali Bein
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala/Sultanpur Lodhi, October 21
To revive the historic Kali Bein rivulet, which had religious significance for the Sikhs, the Kapurthala District Administration has drawn up an action plan, to check flow of industrial waste into the rivulet and regulate flow of water into it. The state government and the local administration are introducing weed technology in villages along the Bein to persuade villagers to treat water in weed technology-based ponds before discharging it into the Bein. It is also working to restore the beauty of the Bein, which supports the famous Kanjli Lake — a wetland declared as a Ramsar Site of International Ecological Significance in 2002. The Punjab Forest Department is planning to undertake a major plantation project in the area.

Apart from that major industrial townships discharging waste into the Bein have been selected for the construction of sewage treatment plants. While the two crore plant in Sultanpur Lodhi is ready, the one in Kapurthala, which is a Rs 10 crore project, is in final stages. Also plants will be set up at Tanda, Begowal and some other industrial towns that fall along the 176 km length of the Bein.

Degraded due to public indifference and persistent discharge of solid and liquid waste by units and villages spread across its 176 km length, the Bein had been struggling for long regain identity, which the first Sikh guru Guru Nanak gave it. Kali Bein used to be a tributary of Beas river but got delinked due to sitting and westward shifting of Beas. It has remained devoid of water since Beas embankment came into existence. Earlier the overflow of seepage water from Beas ensured that Kali Bein flowed perennially. But after the construction of embankment on Beas, the natural cleansing up of seepage water and its flow stopped, converting the Bein into a seasonal rivulet. As the water flow declined in Bein it even dried up once, encouraging villagers to use the rivulet as pathway and also reclaim its land for cultivation.

Preventing mass desecration of the Bein was not such an easy task for the Kapurthala Administration, which had struck its first success by ensuring flow of water into the Bein by outsourcing 100 cusecs of water into it from Mukerian Hydel Channel, located close to the rivulet. Encouraged by the results, the Administration is again planning to outsource another 100 cusecs of water from the Hydel channel into the Bein. Informing The Tribune about recharged efforts being made to revitalize the Bein, Kapurthala DC Rakesh Verma said that earlier the Drainage Department had submitted a proposal regarding ensuring regular flow of water in the Bein. “The proposal required Rs 10 crore and was held up for long. It was later that we decided to source water for the Bein from the Mukerian Hydel Channel, which lies at a greater height than the rivulet. Our plan worked and we are now planning to outsource another 100 cusecs of water for the Bein.”

The Administration has also planned to prevent growth of weeds in the rivulet. With the help of Sant Sichewal, a revered denizen of Sultanpur Lodhi, the Administration has been able to mobilize villagers to keep the Bein clear of weeds. Sant Sichewal himself is involved in the task of Bein cleansing through kar seva. Besides this, weed technology-based ponds will be introduced in many out of 64 villages across the Bein length to allow villagers to treat water before releasing it into the rivulet. Informed the DC, “The Department of Science and Technology has conducted a survey and identified major villages for the introduction of weed technology. To begin with, 10 villages between Kauprthala and Sultanpur Lodhi have been identified for the purpose.”

To beautify Kali Bein area and the Kanjli Lake further, the Forest Department of Punjab has prepared a report. The Forest, Tourism, Drainage and Irrigation Departments are working in tandem to bring Kali Bein back to life.

Kali Bein commands great religious value. It was in Shri Ber Saheb gurdwara (at Sultanpur Lodhi) on the banks of this rivulet that the founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak started his meditation. He used to bathe in this rivulet. One morning he dived into the Bein and disappeared. After few days of disappearance when Guru Nanak appeared at the Bein, his first utterance was “Naa ko Hindu na Musalmaan”. Guru Nanak also composed religious scripture of Japji Saheb on the banks of Kali Bein, besides undertaking two Udasis (religious voyages) from this place where he stayed for 14 years. Japji Saheb is considered the key to Guru Granth Sahib.

ABOUT KALI BEIN: Kali Bein collects water of the damp soil from the point of its origin which reflects black in colour, thereby acquiring its name. Starting from Hoshiarpur, Kali Bein travels along river Beas in a zig zag manner up to 160 km before ultimately joining it upstream of Harike wetland. At Kanjli (which lies along the Bein), the head regulator constructed in 1870 regulates flow of water in Bein. This is one of the oldest existing regulators.

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